Creating a Compelling Story From Music

CREATING A COMPELLING STORY FROM MUSIC

CREATING A COMPELLING STORY FROM MUSIC

Learning Description

Encourage your students to exercise their imaginations and write with courage and conviction. Using music from a wide variety of cultures, students will develop good listening skills and write from the heart using their own voices. This aural exercise will help students think creatively.

 

Learning Targets

GRADE BAND: K-1
CONTENT FOCUS: MUSIC & ELA
LESSON DOWNLOADS:

Download PDF of this Lesson

"I Can" Statements

“I Can…”

  • Compose an original story inspired by a piece of music.

Essential Questions

  • Essential Question: How can music be used to inspire narrative writing?

 

Georgia Standards

Curriculum Standards

Kindergarten:

ELACCKW3 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.

 

Grade 1:

ELACC1W3 Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.

Arts Standards

Kindergarten:

ESGMK.RE.1 Listen to, analyze, and describe music.

 

Grade 1:

ESGM1.RE.1 Listen to, analyze, and describe music.

 

South Carolina Standards

Curriculum Standards

Kindergarten:

K.MCC.3.1 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, to tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and to provide a reaction to what happened. 

 

Grade 1:

1.MCC.3.1 Explore multiple texts to write narratives that recount two or more sequenced events, include details, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

Arts Standards

Anchor Standard 6: I can analyze music.

 

Key Vocabulary

Content Vocabulary

Character - A person, or animal or other entity that has human characteristics, in a story.

Setting - Where and when a story takes place.

Event - A happening, something that occurs in a story.

Detail - A small, interesting part of a larger whole.

Title - The name of a creative work.

Arts Vocabulary

Dynamics - The volume of sound; how loud or soft it is.

Pitch - How high or low a note sounds.

Tempo - The speed at which a musical piece is played; how fast or slow.

Duration - The length of time a sound lasts; how long or short.

Timbre - The quality of a sound (round, brassy, sharp, bright).

Form - The structure or pattern in music; how the sounds are put together.

Rhythm - A pattern of sound which can be repeated to a regular beat.

 

Materials

  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Paper
  • Audio recordings
  • Sound source (CD Player, iPod, etc.) - 3-5 selections of instrumental music
  • Photographs and prints (optional)

 

Instructional Design

Opening/Activating Strategy

Warm-Up:  Moving to Music

  • Tell the students they are going to have a chance to move to music.  In order to stay safe, remind them to stay in their own personal space.  Have students stand by their desks or tables, or spread them around the room.  Have them keep their feet in one spot, and then stretch out their arms all around; if their hands or arms touch each other, reposition them, or have them reposition themselves, so that each student has ample personal space.
  • Tell students you are going to play instrumental music – just instruments, no words or singing - and as they listen they can sense how it makes them feel, and then move accordingly.  Remind them they must stay in their assigned places, and move only in their own personal space.
  • Put on a selection of instrumental music, possibly from another culture.
  • Model different ways of moving to the music, describing as you do (e.g, “I am waving my arms slowly,” or “This part makes me want to go up on my toes”) and encourage students to move in their own ways.  Possibly, use observational language to comment on some student choices (e.g., “I see Arianna swaying gently,” “Terrence is shaking his knees very quickly”).
  • After the activity, reflect by asking the students how they felt moving to the music, and why they made some of the movement choices they made.  Ask if the music made them imagine particular kinds of people, animals, places, times of day, weather, landscapes, etc.  Perhaps share some ideas of your own (e.g., “I imagined a teenage girl in a long blue dress.  I imagined a big rock along the seashore.”)

 

Work Session

  • Ask students to describe, in general, what we hear when we hear music, and how pieces of music are different from one another (e.g., some are faster, some have loud drums, some are sad, some have quiet parts).  Lead them to discussion of various elements of music – dynamics, tempo, pitch, duration, melody, etc.  Talk about the extremes in each (loud/soft, fast/slow, etc.)
  • Explain that students will listen to another piece of instrumental music.  This time, they will not move, but should listen for the musical elements, and think about the images these elements create in their minds.
  • Play a different piece of instrumental music, ideally one that contrasts the piece used in the opening activity.  Encourage students to listen with their eyes shut.
  • Tell students that they will be creating/composing original stories in response to the music.  Post and review with the students the following questions:
    • What is the title of my story? 
    • Where does my story take place? 
    • When does my story take place? 
    • Who are the characters? 
  • Give students paper and writing/drawing utensils.  Depending on the teacher’s goals and the students’ skill level, students can write and/or draw to create their stories.
  • Play the music again.  Ask the students to listen carefully again and to write or draw answers to the questions.
  • Repeat the process with two or three more contrasting pieces of instrumental music.  Have students create an idea page for each.
  • Have each student choose their favorite piece of music and compose a story that includes the title, setting, characters, and events inspired by the music.  Encourage them to include details.
  • Have students share their stories in pairs or trios.  Possibly, have volunteers share their stories in front of the entire class.  If they can speak loud enough, possibly play the selection of music softly as they are reading/telling their story.

 

Classroom Tips:

  • A wide range of music is best (e.g. Native American, Scandinavian, African, Asian, Latin American, flute, international jazz, violin, saxophone, harp); avoid using music familiar to or easily identified by students.

Closing Reflection

Ask students:  How did the music inspire story ideas in your mind?  Which elements of the music were most important to you in creating your story?  What did you like about this activity?  What was easy or hard about this activity?

 

Assessments

Formative

  • Students participate actively in the warm-up.
  • Students cite the elements of music in their reflections on their music-listening and story composition.
  • Students use their time efficiently to write or draw ideas for their stories.

 

Summative

Student stories as written or drawn show clear evidence of having characters, settings, events, and titles.

 

Differentiation

Acceleration: 

Add in the concepts of conflict/problem (“a challenge that the main character faces and must resolve”) and/or protagonist and antagonist (“the main character in the story,” and “the character who is opposed to or in conflict with the main character”) as elements that the students must clearly develop in their stories. 

Remediation: 

Work as a full class to develop the first story.  Then develop more stories as a full class, or have students work in small groups. 

Take care to choose musical selections that are not too challenging or jarring.

 ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • Putumayo World Music can be accessed at Putumayo.com, or accessed through streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music.
  • Longer loops in GarageBand or similar apps can be useful.
  • A search of “World Music” will bring up links to YouTube videos that feature varieties of multicultural instrumental music.

*This integrated lesson provides differentiated ideas and activities for educators that are aligned to a sampling of standards. Standards referenced at the time of publishing may differ based on each state’s adoption of new standards.

Ideas contributed by:  Janice Akers
Modifications, Extensions, and Adaptations Contributed by: Peggy Barnes, Candy Bennett, Lindsey Elrod, Jennifer Plummer, Vilma Thomas, and Barry Stewart Mann.

 Revised and copyright:  Date updated @ ArtsNOW

Creating a Role Drama to Analyze Characters in a Text

CREATING ROLE DRAMA TO ANALYZE CHARACTERS IN A TEXT

CREATING ROLE DRAMA TO ANALYZE CHARACTERS IN A TEXT

Learning Description

Students will use drama to analyze characters in the text A Bad Case of Stripes, by David Shannon. Students will examine the internal and external traits of the main character, and then take on roles of characters in the story and engage in a role drama presenting possible solutions for the central problem of the story. Students will then independently write their own endings to the story, and those will be shared and discussed.  

 

Learning Targets

GRADE BAND: 2
CONTENT FOCUS: THEATRE & ELA
LESSON DOWNLOADS:

Download PDF of this Lesson

"I Can" Statements

“I Can…”

  • I can identify adjectives to describe a character
  • I can become a character and suggest a solution to a problem in a story

Essential Questions

  • How can drama be used to analyze the characters in a text and how their actions contribute to the sequence of events?

 

Georgia Standards

Curriculum Standards

Grade 2:ELAGSE2RL3: Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges. 

ELAGSE2RL5: Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action. 

ELAGSE2RL6: Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.

Arts Standards

Grade 2: TAES2.3: Acting by developing, communicating, and sustaining roles within a variety of situations and environments.

 

South Carolina Standards

Curriculum Standards

Grade 2:2.RI.5: Determine meaning and develop logical interpretations by making predictions, inferring, drawing conclusions, analyzing,synthesizing, providing evidence, and investigating multiple interpretations.

2.RL.8: Analyze characters, settings, events, and ideas as they develop and interact within a particular context.

Arts Standards

Anchor Standard 1: I can create scenes and write scripts using story elements and structure.

Anchor Standard 3: I can act in improvised scenes and written scripts.

 

Key Vocabulary

Content Vocabulary

  • Character – A person, or an animal or object that has human qualities, in a story.
  • Problem – The difficult or challenging situation in a story.
  • Solution – A way to fix or solve a problem.

Arts Vocabulary

  • Statue – An actor in a frozen pose.
  • Storytelling - Conveying events in words and images, often by improvisation or embellishment.
  • Character - A personality or role an actor/actress recreates.
  • Facial Expression - Use of the facial muscles to convey emotion and communicate the feelings and thoughts of the characters to the audience.

 

Materials

  • Anchor Chart Paper 
  • Markers 
  • Lined notebook paper 
  • Pencils
  • A Bad Case of Stripes, by David Shannon

 

Instructional Design

Opening/Activating Strategy

Warm-Up: Character Statues 

  • Have students spread out in the space  
  • Instruct students to freeze when the signal (tap of drum, clap of hands, or ‘Freeze”) is given, and to unfreeze on a corresponding signal (two taps, two claps, or “Unfreeze” or “Relax”) 
  • Give character prompts for students to create a Statues (E.g.,  “A happy clown juggling” “A baseball player catching a fly ball”, “An angry principal”, “A movie star signing autographs”, “Abraham Lincoln making a speech,” “Cinderella trying on the slipper”).

 

Work Session

Main Activity Scaffolding 

  • Explain that the lesson will explore the characters and problem in A Bad Case of Stripes, by David Shannon, through several drama strategies.
  • Read the book to “’No, thank you,’ sighed Camilla.  What she really wanted was a nice plate of lima beans, but she had been laughed at enough for one day.”
  • “Role on the Wall” Strategy”: On anchor chart paper, draw an outline of a human figure. Have students suggest adjectives to describe the main character’s internal feelings and characteristics.  Write, or have student volunteers write, those words and phrases inside the outline.  Have students suggest adjectives used to describe the character’s external appearance.  Write, or have student volunteers write those words and phrases outside the outline.
  • Lead the students in enacting Camilla talking about her internal feelings and external appearance.  Have the students repeat, in a Camilla voice, “When people look at me, they see someone who is ----, -----, and ------; but inside, I’m actually very --------, ---------, and ---------.”
  • Read the book to “’What are we going to do?’ cried Mrs. Cream.  ‘It just keeps getting worse and worse!’  She began to sob.” 
  • Have students choose someone in Camilla’s life.  It can be a character mentioned in the story (e.g., Dr. Bumble, Mr. Harms, Dr. Grop, Dr. Sponge, Dr. Cricket, Dr. Young, Dr. Gourd, Dr. Mellon, psychologist, allergist, herbalist, nutritionist, psychic, medicine man, guru, veterinarian, the environmental therapist), a character depicted in the illustrations (classmate, reporter, police officer, tattoo artist, onlooker), or some other character who would likely be in Camilla’s life (cousin, grandparent, neighbor, teacher, etc.).  It should not be Mr. or Mrs. Cream
  • Ask students to sit at their desk and “quick write” in the role of the character they are developing.  Provide several prompts: name, age, relationship to Camilla, 2-3 character traits (e.g., bossy, smart, shy, grumpy, nervous, fun-loving, etc.) 
  • Have students explore the space walking like their character and interacting with others as their character.
  • Have students sit down at desks or in a circle.  
  • Announce that there is going to be a town meeting to help Camilla.
  • Assume the role of Camilla's mother or father, express despair at Camilla’s condition, and ask for advice and guidance from the various people in Camilla’s life about what to do.  (Be prepared with ideas, in case students do not bring many forth, e.g., send Camilla away, give her a 24-hour bath, set her out in the sun, don’t let anyone talk to her, etc.).  Have students make their suggestions in character.  Discuss what might happen with each idea, and discuss the pros and cons.  Thank everyone for their suggestions and conclude the role play.
  • Have students return to their seats and write their new endings to the story, choosing one of the suggestions from the town meeting, and describing how it would play out.
  • Conclude the reading of the story.

 

Closing Reflection

  • Have students pair share, and have volunteers share out as a class.  Discuss how the new endings compare and contrast with the actual ending of the story.
  • Discuss Camilla’s transformation from the beginning to the end of the story.

 

Assessments

Formative

  • Students use their bodies expressively to convey the character statues.
  • Students provide a wide array of interesting and appropriate adjectives for the “Role on a Wall.”
  • Students assume characters and respond appropriately within the Role Drama.

 

Summative

Students’ story endings reflect the ideas shared in the Role Drama and bring the story to a logical conclusion accordingly.

 

Differentiation

Acceleration:

  • Have students further revise, illustrate and publish their new ending.
  • Have students get in small groups and dramatize one of their new endings.

 

Remediation

  • Model a character from the story suggesting a solution to the problem, and discuss how that might play out in a new ending to the story.
  • Give students a limited list of characters to  enact (perhaps: friend, cousin, teacher, grandparent, police officer).

 *This integrated lesson provides differentiated ideas and activities for educators that are aligned to a sampling of standards. Standards referenced at the time of publishing may differ based on each state’s adoption of new standards.

Ideas contributed by: Jessica Rosa and updated by Barry Stewart Mann.

Revised and copyright:  August 2022 @ ArtsNOW

Guess What 2

Description

Students will analyze the life cycle by assuming the roles of various plants and animals in the cycle. Students will also use a guessing game and a tableau to dramatize their place in the life cycle. After the students share their tableau, they will write from the point of view of their plant/animal and discuss the changes they went through in the form of poetry.

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Living with Something Unusual

Living With Something Unusual

LIVING WITH SOMETHING UNUSUAL

Learning Description

Students will explore two stories about an unusual creature becoming part of a family, and then create and enact their own stories on the same theme.

 

Learning Targets

GRADE BAND: 2
CONTENT FOCUS: THEATRE & ELA
LESSON DOWNLOADS:

Download PDF of this Lesson

"I Can" Statements

“I Can…”

  • I can identify similarities and differences in two stories on a similar theme.
  • I can use my body and voice to act out animal characters.
  • I can work with a group to create a new story based on a theme from picture books.

Essential Questions

  • How do we compare two stories on a similar theme?
  • How do we create an original story based on a theme from picture books?

 

Georgia Standards

Curriculum Standards

Grade 2:

ELAGSE2RL6 Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.ELAGSE2RL7 Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.ELAGSE2RL9 Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.ELAGSE2W3 Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

Arts Standards

Grade 2:

TAES2.2 Developing scripts through improvisation and other theatrical methods.

TAES2.3 Acting by developing, communicating, and sustaining roles within a variety of situations and environments.

 

South Carolina Standards

Curriculum Standards

Grade 2:

2.Rl.5 Determine meaning and develop logical interpretations by making predictions, inferring, drawing conclusions, analyzing, synthesizing, providing evidence, and investigating multipleinterpretations.

2.RL.8 Analyze characters, settings, events, and ideas as they develop and interact within a particular context.

Arts Standards

Grade 2:

Anchor Standard 1: I can create scenes and write scripts using story elements and structure.

Anchor Standard 3: I can act in improvised scenes and written scripts.

 

Key Vocabulary

Content Vocabulary

Character - A person or animal in a story who takes part in the action.

Setting - The time and place of a story (when and where).

Plot - The series of related events that together form a story.

Illustration - A drawing, painting, photograph, or other image that is created to depict a story, poem, or newspaper article.

Theme - A central idea or topic in a story.

Arts Vocabulary

Act - To pretend to be or do something imaginary.

Voice - An actor’s tool, which we shape and change to portray the way a character speaks or sounds.

Body - An actor’s tool, which we shape and change to portray the way a character looks, walks, or moves.

 

Materials

Aaaarrgghh Spider!!! by Lydia Monks. and How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?, by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague; or two texts that have the same theme of living with an unusual animal character

Paper

Pencil

 

Instructional Design

Opening/Activating Strategy

Character Movements:
Have students shift their bodies to become the animals in the stories: First, a spider . . . walking, climbing, dancing, spinning a web, jumping; then, dinosaurs . . . different types (from the text) walking, flying, running, eating, digging, settling down to sleep.

 

Work Session

Process

  • Read two quick texts for the students that share the theme of living with an unusual animal character, such as Aaaarrgghh, Spider!!!, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?.
  • Discuss similarities and differences between the two texts. Identify the theme – living with an unusual animal.
  • Gather favorite scenes from the two stories and act them out all together, using the illustrations in the books as guides. Have students become the animals and/or the creatures (e.g., the spider washing herself, the mother shaking the spider webs out on the broom, the children swinging, the ankylosaurus yawning and dragging a blanket, the apatosaurus swinging his neck, the trachodont stomping and shouting). Spotlight the specific physical choices that individual students make to enact the characters.
  • Discuss the theme. Discuss what animals are kept as housepets, and brainstorm creatures that would be very unlikely to live with a family (possible ideas: elephant, whale, moose, wooly mammoth, vulture, unicorn, grizzly bear, walrus, etc.).
  • Divide the class into groups and instruct the students to come up with their own story based on an unusual animal living with humans, and how they overcome obstacles. Tell them that they should have the human characters in the family and one unusual animal house-pet character (if there is conflict, they can alternate acting out the different roles). They should decide on several activities that the family and animal engage in. (Possibly, assign the number of activities equal to the number of students in the group, so that each student has a chance to enact the animal role.)
  • Pair up groups and have them share with each other, or have each group share with the whole class.

 

Closing Reflection

  • Review the theme of the stories, and what a ‘theme’ is.
  • Reflect on how students used their voices and bodies to become their characters.

 

Assessments

Formative

  • Observe students enacting animals in the opening activity and the group scenes.
  • Listen to students discussing similarities and differences between the two stories.

 

Summative

  • Observe how well students’ scenes clearly follow the theme of the source texts – with an unusual animal pet and a series of actions or activities.
  • Observe how students work together to enact their scenes.

 

Differentiation

Acceleration:

  • Have students write out their scenes in a playwriting format.
  • Have the groups develop a narrative in which the characters face and resolve a specific problem related to the unusual animal.

Remediation:

  • Rather than having students work independently in groups, brainstorm and collectively enact several ideas in sequence as an entire class.
  • Guide students specifically in making choices for vocal and physical expression in creating characters together (instruct and model what to do with arms, legs, upper body, faces, etc.)

 

Additional Resources

Other possible texts: Clifford the Big Red Dog, by Norman Ray Bridwell; Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, by Bernard Waber; Charlotte and the Rock, by Stephen W. Martin; Sparky, by Jenny Offill, Illustrated by Chris Appelhans (sloth); and My Tiny Pet, by Jessie Hartland (tardigrade/water bear).

*This integrated lesson provides differentiated ideas and activities for educators that are aligned to a sampling of standards. Standards referenced at the time of publishing may differ based on each state’s adoption of new standards.

Ideas contributed by: Carolynn Stoddard and updated by Barry Stewart Mann

Revised and copyright: August 2022 @ ArtsNOW